A trial got underway Tuesday in 12-year-old litigation between two hospital operators, in New Jersey’s first complex civil jury trial to be conducted in person since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Superior Court Judge Douglas Hurd heard opening arguments in the suit by the Deborah Heart and Lung Center against Virtua Health, operator of five community hospitals. Deborah Heart brings claims of civil conspiracy and unfair competition with regard to Virtua’s referral practices. The trial is expected to run through December.

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